Review by DKamikaze
"Class! Sheer, unadulterated class!"
Manga. Anime. Love it or hate it, you gotta admit - however odd the Japanese are or can get - they have a style in their animation which is irresistable.
And so many have tried, and failed miserably, in capturing it in a videogame. Well fret not, Oni delivers Manga style action and includes the most watertight plot I've followed in a LONG time! I just can't believe it took me so long to get it!
Your initial reaction is, ''Whoa!''. A beautiful, cell-shaded style which somehow seems more realistic than most games on the PS2... which is refreshing!
OK, theres a lot of bugs which, given a bit of extra debugging, could have been ironed out - bodies falling through walls and some clipping problems. But ultimately, nothing that spoils the game.
The major wow factor is the environments. They are HUGE, and perfectly emulate the scale of detail that has been lavished onto this game! You cannot fail to be blown away with the realism - falling off buildings and actually LANDING on the ground below... thats sick entertainment, but it demonstrates an attention to detail which must border on the obsessive!
Overall, a few collision detection issues, but nothing thats gonna ruin your day.
Minimalist. The sound effects are above average and pretty cool, the music seems distinctly anime, and it's all executed perfectly.
People seemed to complain the controls were messed up, but in fact they are pretty intuitive. Using one analog stick to move and one to look can be a bit disorientating at first, but you quickly get used to it.
Also, finally, a game which makes use of the L3 and R3 buttons! Yep, you know when you press down on the analog sticks? Indeed, those buttons are used. In fact, not a single button is wasted... again, it can be fiddly to begin with. But in a short space of time, you'll get used to it and it will become second nature.
Any complaints about controls are unjustified. Nothing is wasted, and it feels quite natural too. Good marks for controls!
ENEMIES AND ANIMATIONS
Combining these two since they are related closely. The enemies are believable and they move with frightening realism. Compared to the likes of Silent Hill 2, the animation in this game is nothing short of stunningly beautiful! People flinch, people react and people move around in an eerily realistic manner...
Enemies and their AI is also great - they chase you, they actively seek you out and they pick up weapons of the ground to fire at you. It makes not just for a good scrap, but also for more strategical play as well. The fact that enemies learn from you means you have to constantly change your attacks to keep them off guard. It's a high point to any game when you can say that the AI is about as good as you'll probably ever see!
Finally, a downer. BOR-ING! The guns in this game are dull, dull, DULL! Although, lets be honest, would you wanna shoot someone when you can land a 6 hit combo on their face and watch them reel in shock? Nah. Weapons mean little in this game. Your fists are all you need.
The most beautiful, amazing plot I've gotten into since the Resident Evil series. It's totally watertight, it clears all unanswered questions, it flows in a way that you'll fall hopelessly in love with it.
When a plot is bad, it can ruin a game. Oni's is true Manga, always has a surprise for you - but always manages to explain reasons. This is about as close as you'll get to Interactive Manga. A shining example of how to do a storyline, and ultimately - how to do it WELL!
Oni is a masterpiece. It's slick, it's fun, it drags you into it's world kicking and screaming, and spits you out dazed, confused but happy. You'll have wasted about 10 hours of your life, but not regret a second.
There was a lot of criticism about Oni, but then - coming from people who highly praised Silent Hill 2... thats not saying much.
Oni is one of those games which you can now pick up dirt cheap, ex-rental or second hand (I paid $5). I would happily have spent a full $40 on this game. It's a cult offering, you'll fall for it's charms or wander off for something lighter and easier. If you wander off, you're not the gamer you think you are!
True, the game has it's problems - as do many. It's got a steep difficulty curve, some tricky jumping sections and sometimes you'll get lost (If so, just kick back and admire the architecture!). It does significantly deduct points of it's final score, but it doesn't worsen the game. And it's still better than 90% of the PS2 games out there now.
Finally, to pass up a chance to play this game is like winning the lottery and not claiming your money. You WILL cry, you WILL be angry and you're gonna regret it forever. Do yourself a favour. Buy this game. You won't be disappointed...
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/21/02, Updated 03/21/02
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